The last few years of disruption have illuminated the dire need for enhanced visibility, rendering real-time or near-real-time visibility not as a luxury but as an indispensable necessity. Whether it is to proactively navigate today’s constant disruptions or have greater flexibility in meeting customer shifting demand, in today’s fast-paced business environment, supply chain visibility is crucial for success.
In this recent Supply Chain Now livestream, hosts Scott Luton and Constantine Limberakis welcomed Heidi Benko, Vice President, Product Marketing & Strategy with Infor-Nexus, to the show to discuss the importance of understanding the bigger context of supply chain operations and the need for practical solutions.
Listen in and learn more about the significance of contextualization in supply chain management, the role of people driving process, the concept of predictive intelligence, and the need for a holistic approach to supply chain management.
Welcome to Supply Chain Now, the voice of global supply chain. Supply Chain Now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on Supply Chain Now.
Scott Luton (00:33):
Hey, hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. Scott Luton and Constantine Limberakis is here with you on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s live stream. Dino, how you doing today?
Constantine Limberakis (00:44):
I am doing great. How are you, Scott?
Scott Luton (00:46):
I’m wonderful. Back, fresh off, big week of shows, including a great webinar that you and I enjoyed on Tuesday. But, Dino, as you know, we’ve got a big show teed up here today. Are you ready?
Constantine Limberakis (00:58):
I am ready. I was looking forward to this one all week as well, so it’s going to be –
Scott Luton (01:03):
We are too. And hopefully the weather is nice and cool up there in Chicago where you are, huh?
Constantine Limberakis (01:07):
It is. At 5:15 this morning, it was 65 degrees.
Scott Luton (01:11):
Oh, man, that sounds so good. But, hey, speaking of our outstanding conversation teed up here today, we’ll be talking about moving your supply chain organization from chaos to control, peace and calm and serenity, perhaps. All while not only leveraging, Dino, best in class visibility, but the answers and solutions that you need to make it happen. Should be a good one, huh?
Constantine Limberakis (01:37):
Scott Luton (01:38):
All right. So, get ready. Not only will you hear from Heidi and Dino and myself, we want to hear from y’all. So drop your comments based on what you hear, your take in the cheap seats or club level seating, whatever we’re calling it here, the grandstand, drop it there. We’ll share that throughout the conversation. So, Dino, you’re ready to get to work?
Constantine Limberakis (01:59):
Absolutely. Let’s do it.
Scott Luton (01:38):
All right. So, I want to welcome in our featured guest today, back by popular demand, Heidi Benko, vice president of Product Marketing and Strategy with Infor Nexus. Hey, hey, Heidi, how you doing?
Heidi Benko (02:13):
Good. How are you?
Scott Luton (02:15):
Doing wonderful. Great to have you back. I was talking just with a team earlier today about the great webinar we enjoyed with you and a colleague or a customer a couple months back. And may we blink and we’re five months from May, huh?
Heidi Benko (02:28):
Can’t believe we’re in October. What [inaudible].
Scott Luton (02:31):
Let’s go. No kidding. We’re at the end of the month here. But, hey, so we got a lot to get into here today. Great to have you back. Dino and I are looking forward to a great conversation. But we’re going to start with a little fun warmup question. So I want to start with this one. This is going to take some folks back, I think. So back on this date, back in 1997, the Apple, the company that we all know and love, well, it was in a much different place. The company really was floundering and had just brought back the legendary Steve Jobs as interim CEO. And on September 28, 1997, the company kicked off that infamous, that famous iconic “Think different” ad campaign. I can still remember some of the ads and, of course, some magazine print ads and whatnot. That whole campaign really signaled a wildly new, successful chapter for the company and really led to a big resurgence. And Apple really started to become the Apple that we all know and love today. So, Heidi, with that as a backdrop, I might be a bit of a commercial nerd, I don’t know, but with that as a backdrop, what’s one of your favorite all-time ads?
Heidi Benko (03:33):
There’s so many, but it’s funny, we were just talking about Apple and I just, I don’t know if you’ve seen the new Apple commercial actually –
Scott Luton (03:38):
Heidi Benko (03:39):
With [03:39] because that’s been sticking with me maybe ‘cause I just saw it, but I also thought it was pretty powerful, right? So that one I thought, I mean it obviously so relevant time, but, you know, they do, Apple does really differentiated ads that really make you think, whether it’s, you know, I’m a Mac, right? It’s a good one, or just this latest one. So definitely.
Scott Luton (04:00):
I’m with you, Heidi, and that commercial you’re talking about, I think that’s where the latest iPhone is, like, moving through spaces from deep part of the universe and landing here on earth. Right?
Heidi Benko (04:10):
I don’t – I just – it’s Mother Nature comes in and is doing her annual review of how are we doing. Sustainability.
Scott Luton (04:18):
Heidi Benko (04:19):
It’s really, and they’re all like, okay.
Scott Luton (04:23):
All right. I’m going to add that.
Heidi Benko (04:25):
Questioning. That I’ll give you – I’ll send it to you. It’s pretty – what is Apple doing to improve the planet? It’s pretty great. Yeah.
Scott Luton (04:31):
Oh, I love that. I’m going to check that out. All right. So that’s a good one and that it’s one that’s not on my radar but it is now. So, Constantine, that’s going to be tough to top. What’s one of your favorite all-time ads?
Constantine Limberakis (04:40):
I would’ve to say in the late ‘70s when I was a big Pittsburgh Steeler fan, Iron Curtain, you had Mean Joe Greene giving that kid his shirt after he – and then he gave him a Coke and he gave him his shirt. I mean, that’s classic, right? We need more of that so, and I love – I always loved that commercial ’cause I was a big Steelers’ fan.
Scott Luton (05:01):
Oh, such a great one, such a great one. And, of course, in the pre-show, Heidi and Dino, we were talking about the other famous Coca-Cola company commercial, “If I could teach the world to sing.” But it sounds a lot better than that. So I’ll let folks Google that, YouTube that and search it up as my middle daughter would say. Okay. So we’ve got a ton to get into. We got a lot of folks with us. Shineo, Tony, John, of course, Catherine. Big thanks to Catherine and Amanda behind the scenes helping make it happen. Mark, Leticia. Welcome, everybody, looking forward to getting your – y’all to weigh in on what you hear today. So, Heidi, I want to start, you know, context is so important. We don’t get enough of it in this fast moving world that we all live in. So I want to start with a little context. So you’ve been helping companies transform their supply chains for over 20 years. We’ve got that 20 year, we don’t break that rule. But for over 20 years, right, so tell us a little about that.
Heidi Benko (05:54):
Yeah. What’s the rule in 20 years? Like, you stop counting there.
Scott Luton (05:57):
Yes. Yes. You got it.
Heidi Benko (06:00):
[Inaudible]. That’s good. Thank you for that.
Scott Luton (06:02):
You bet. We all – hey, we all got to – I – we got your back. We all got to have each other’s back. But you’ve been moving mountains for quite some time, huh?
Heidi Benko (06:09):
Yes. Yeah. No. So definitely, you know, I’ve been with in Infor Nexus for, you know, 20-ish years, which has been great and obviously been here ’cause there’s just so much going on, supply chains and helping companies. So, you know, me personally, my role back and forth, product management, product, you know, marketing and strategy and building the solutions that help our customers, and what Infor Nexus is, is, you know, basically we’re a multi-enterprise supply chain network, right? We connect companies or supply chain partners. Supply chains are multiple companies, right? There’s how do you deal with your suppliers, contract manufacturers, forwarders, carriers. That’s how we connect supply chains really to manage those processes. So, you know, today we’re talking about visibility. Visibility is a key component, but it’s more than just seeing, right? So, you know, what we do is we connect companies through supply chains to really manage those external processes. How do I coordinate my shipments? How do I, you know, confirm my purchase orders? How do we manage the invoicing process? How do we manage tracking all those shipments, planning freight, all of that, really. So, connecting couple of their supply chain partners to enable visibility to all parties as well as collaboration and executing those processes, which is really key from going – from chaos to control. It’s not just seeing, but what can you do about it. Right?
Scott Luton (07:27):
Love that. And, you know, Constantine, what, as Heidi was describing all of that, and a lot of folks know about Infor Nexus, of course, that was for the two or three people that may not know. But the thought that comes to my mind is that ecosystem, right? Creating the information and the connection so that any company’s ecosystem can be successful and be synced up. What came to your mind, Dino?
Constantine Limberakis (07:49):
Well, of course, you know, this isn’t something that happened yesterday. I mean, Infor has been doing this over the course of its history and building these tools and as technologies have gotten better and orchestrated together as part of the platform that they offer. It’s just amazing what you can do with technology now and having all that data in one place. So, it’s a testament to the platform concept of, you know, having many of these different solution sets together under one brand. Right?
Scott Luton (08:15):
That’s right. Well said, well said. And it really is, you know, amazing throwing around a lot, but it is really amazing. We’ve come this far, you know. Yesterday we were talking with a big soft drink company and they were talking about the 96 Olympics. Can you imagine what visibility was for supply chain pros in the 96 Olympics? I mean, a much different world, right? All right. One other quick comment. Angie McDaniel, great to have you from Lyons, Georgia. I’m going to have to go look up where Lyons, Georgia is. It’s great to see you, Angie. And, folks, let us know where you’re tuned in from. All right. So now let’s keep level setting a little bit more. So, Heidi, from your perspective, you know, y’all work with a lot of movers and shakers. You got your finger on the pulse. What’s going on out in the industry and what are some of the disruptions that you see business leaders really struggling with right now?
Heidi Benko (08:56):
Yep. And I think we talked in May, right? I think a lot of it’s still the same. Companies are still struggling both with the macro and the micro disruptions, right? I mean, constantly you hear in the news: port strikes, labor issues, still dealing with material shortages. Now, we’ve got, you know, the Panama Canal. What are those weather impacts? All those different impacts and how do companies basically see and react to what’s going on there. So, it’s just ongoing. Maybe the levels dialed out a little bit on some of the chaos, but companies are still, every day is about what’s happening in my supply chain, what do I need to do about it, right? So, you know, it’s just kind of ongoing. This is how people need to function now. And I think, you know, companies still are trying to figure out the best way to get that control, make it so it’s not so reactive and it’s going to be somewhat reactive, but –
Scott Luton (09:46):
Heidi Benko (09:45):
Scott Luton (09:47):
Well, you know, because whether we like it or not, there’s still plenty of surprises in global supply chain. That’s the nature of the job. You know, we’re getting more and more proactive, thanks to some of the amazing technology and data capabilities that platforms like Infor Nexus offers out there. But, Dino, we got to embrace – well, there’s a phrase around here, I don’t know about y’all, if y’all heard this – embrace the suck. There’s a part of it that just goes with global supply chain, is that right, Dino?
Constantine Limberakis (10:15):
Yes. It’s an odd phrase, but yes. Yeah.
Scott Luton (10:16):
And what she describes, is that kind of what you’re seeing out there?
Constantine Limberakis (10:19):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think those things are spot on. In addition, I think one of the challenges companies are still continuing to do is a lot of times you have these lagging indicators where you’re looking at historic data and you’re saying, “Okay, these are the things that are going on,” but the leading indicators where one of the other big challenges is coming in is to saying, how do I best predict and what tools and what data do I want to use to best predict? And that’s not something that’s just very easily done. And so, with some of the new things around generative AI and other applications, that’s going to even become much more of the mainstay. So it’s looking at the history but then also predicting more accurately. This is what companies are trying to struggle with.
Heidi Benko (11:00):
And that is very true for many things. We have the data intelligence to kind of get ahead of things, but then there’s always new things popping up as well, right? So, we have companies dealing with, you know, UFLPA customs holds, right? Like all of a sudden like, “Whoa, how do I get ahold of my supply chain?” So there’s always kind of something new, too, you can’t plan for –
Scott Luton (11:20):
Heidi Benko (11:20):
But you need to make sure you know what’s going on, get that, you know, visibility to the impact and react. So I do see it’s kind of a mix.
Scott Luton (11:28):
Yeah. Well said, Heidi. Well said. And, folks, two quick thoughts. First off, if you hear any traffic, Heidi’s in New York City and Constantine is in Chicago and I’m on the fringe of Metro Atlanta. So, y’all might hear a little traffic. The secondly, kidding aside, and we’re going to talk more about this, but the onus is on leaders. Given all those headaches that their team has to get through every single day, the onus, onus leaders to make it easier for folks to navigate and succeed. And that’s what we’re going to talk about some of those opportunities here today. So, Heidi, moving right along, I want to talk about from in your view some of those capabilities that global supply chain leaders got to have to successfully manage and lead through all of these disruptions that we’re talking about.
Heidi Benko (12:09):
Yep. So, I guess first it’s starting with visibility, right? So we’re talking about best in class visibility to say, first is visibility. What’s going on? Right? What is happening? And that’s in many forms, right? So it could be, we talked about there’s weather, there’s things that are in the news, right? Things like port strikes. I mean, certainly companies with global supply chain can’t log in every day and try to check everything, right? So part of that is getting risk signals about what’s going on to manage that. So there’s that seeing or hearing the events. Some of the events are supplier delay, right? What’s going on directly with suppliers, or I’ve got a delay in shipment, so how do I connect to the parties directly to hear about it? But then it’s the next thing is the visibility and what’s that impact, right?
Heidi Benko (12:53):
So, “there are port strikes, well, what shipments do I have going into that port,” right? When will they be going? I have shipments about to go into that port, so what is impact in my supply chain? So that requires visibility to my supply chain, the status, orders, shipments, inventory. And there’s kind of the two levels of impact. One is it’s impacting something like a shipment, but really what is the ultimate impact, right? So getting those insights to know, okay, that shipment is going to be delayed by X days, which means it’ll arrive at plant late and we’ve got production downtime, or delivery to a late customer. So what is the end impact is really what’s important. So that really requires data. And the other thing is, I think with supply chains, there are so many points at which there can be problems.
Heidi Benko (13:40):
When we talk about visibility, really need in what we’ve been working out with their customers and all those, like you mentioned, all the technology and insights, Constantine, is I need as little blind spots as possible, right? From the moment that order drops from the supplier all the way through the supply chain as it’s moving and receive, there are so many points of handoffs, right? So I think today it requires full visibility into that to see where things are moving or not moving. So that way you can see what that impact is. And then, again, what is the impact ultimately? Is it to my customer, my business? And then those predictive insights as well, right? So, port delay will, what’s predicted to arrive at the port, right? Or that delay, what is going to be the predicted end result to production? And things like –
Scott Luton (14:27):
Truckload of great insights there. And we’re going to dive in deeper, folks. Just so y’all know where we’re going, dive in deeper to what supply chain leaders need in their technology solutions. So stay tuned for that. Just around the corner. Dino, what did you – what – out of all that Heidi just shared, what’s one thing that folks really got to keep front and center there?
Constantine Limberakis (14:45):
I think too what Heidi was talking about is to the visibility about what’s going on. And I know that they also – you guys also do this – is understanding that multi-tier complexity, right? Because that’s one of the biggest parts of the challenges is it’s that bull whip of what happens here, how long will that take to affect me in weeks or days later when I need to expect that inventory? And how can I plan way ahead or anticipate what those problems are? Particularly with things like the Uyghur Forced Labor Act, right, which is something that happens way, way early in the process when you’re trying to get that to the port and saying to someone, “Well, this is something.” It’s getting rejected by the port because of where it’s coming from. So this is that complexity that needs to be managed for sure.
Scott Luton (15:31):
Yeah. Well said. All right. So, Heidi and Dino, getting back to kind of what I was talking about a second ago with technology, what’s got to be baked into technology? I want to tee this up though, because one thing Heidi and Constantine we’re talking pre-show about, and we’ve been talking quite a bit about in the last couple years, is visibility is not enough. And there’s lots of organizations still trying to get visibility. And visibility, of course, is really important. But many companies and business leaders have been implementing visibility solutions for years, but still trying to get the answers and the actionable insights that’s needed so we can manage complexity and make better decisions and get – handle the surprises better. So, your thoughts to that point, Heidi. And then we’re going to talk about three or four things that technology platforms have to have. So respond to that, Heidi, first.
Heidi Benko (16:18):
Yeah. It’s funny, in my many years here and for [inaudible] and many slides and presentations, I think visibility is not enough. It’s probably we’ve been using that forever. And yet it’s still – everyone still wants visibility because that is the first step, right? But it’s what is visibility, right? So you want to see what’s going on, but it’s not just seeing, it’s being able to act. So, you know, visibility is about seeing with good data. It’s got to be quality data to know what’s really happening is really happening. But also, what other data is it to get the actual insights, right? So, you know, basically, like I talked about what it’s affecting, what can I do about it? So, you know, something’s late. Okay, what’s late? What shipment? What’s the magnitude? How many shipments are impacted, right? Actionable. Like, well, what products are on it?
Heidi Benko (17:05):
Where is it in the supply chain that the impact occurs and what can we do about it? Right? So actionable insights mean I have to have that in one place versus typically what happens when companies implement a visibility solution, it’s that seeing part A, you’ve got this problem, right? So maybe there’s this event or maybe we’re telling you there’s late shipment, but then somebody always has to go pull data from elsewhere. What’s the impact, right? So the late shipment, “These orders on it,” “oh, these orders for what customers, what products, how late, how important,” right? You know, if there’s containers sitting in a port, which ones do I prioritize? Well, which ones have the key products? Which ones are going to have higher demurrage fees? They’re scrambling. So to make it actionable really does require more data in one place with that solution, right? Not a siloed visibility solution, but more information in one place to both see the full impact and then all what are the options to take action, right? And then not everything’s important too, right? So it, well it’s the lead shipment. Does this one matter? Right? Is there plenty of stock? I need to focus on something else. So there’s really about more data insights to make up.
Scott Luton (18:12):
Well, that’s really important context and we’re going to go through now – it’s a perfect segue to go through. There’s four things in particular that we’re – how do you – we’re going to get you to speak to in terms of what technology platforms have to have to make supply chains work better. Before we start that, Jessica Reed, “Visibility with context.” We can’t get enough context, Dino and Heidi, in this world, right? Tyrone, hey, you know where we’re going. He says, “Predictive analytics anyone? This seems to be a must have in any manufacturing landscape.” Hold that thought. We’ll be there with you in just a second. And Jeffrey says, “WIFM,” which I think he’s talking about what’s in it for me. “To the rescue. You have to be able to understand what is being impacted,” and prioritize to Heidi’s point. Dino, your quick comment before we move on with these four things with Heidi.
Constantine Limberakis (19:00):
Well, the way I love Heidi describing it is to me it’s all about, again, those typical processes that you know about, the process. You can like even process mining that you’re knowing what you should be expecting to happen internally, but then there’s also these external factors of what data should you bring in to better understand where things are coming from. And that was a comment from one of the listeners of where to bring – what kind of data you want bring in. So that’s visibility, right? Because visibility is in the eye of the beholder. Who is the consumer of that visibility date and what are they looking to get out of it? So, a supply chain person versus a procurement person versus maybe a financial person, so that’s another angle here that control.
Scott Luton (19:39):
Heidi Benko (19:41):
[Inaudible] action, right? If it’s act – sorry, actionable insights, you know, who has that information? Who can take action, right? So getting them to data and making sure you’re looking at the same time ’cause you’re all looking at the stock issue, right? And when I say all, sorry, it’s, you know, whether it’s the planner plus the transportation person, what you’re going to do about it. Right?
Scott Luton (19:58):
Right. You know, if I wanted non-actionable insights, I’d go read a book. You know what I mean? We need a book. Yeah. All right. And one other point. Did you hear? So, Heidi, the last time you joined us, I think we talked Star Wars was one fun, warmup questions. Did you hear Dino sneak in that Twilight Zone reference with the eye of the beholder? Visibility is an eye of the beholder, famous episode. Okay. So let’s go through then these four of the critical things. I mean, there’s a full list, but these are four key things. So when we start, Heidi, I think we’re going to start with earlier visibility, right? Tell us more.
Heidi Benko (20:35):
Yeah. So much visibility. There’s an earlier visibility in a number of ways, right? So, I think, A, something happened that’s too late, right? So you want to get ahead of it and we’re going to talk about predictive. But also, earlier in that before things are moving, right? So you talk about a lot of companies are implementing visibility solutions and not getting the value. Well, they’re – it’s once something’s moving in transit, there’s only so much I can do, right? So we look at visibility, it’s that end and supply chain visibility is starting early on with the order, right? And is the order going to be completed on time? Connecting with suppliers? Where are they – production? Are they going to complete on time? You know, whether it’s by manufacturing. So knowing earlier that there’s problems, you know, in global supply chains, what’s going on at origin where things stop being picked up on time.
Heidi Benko (21:17):
So all that earlier visibility, you have more options to take different actions versus, okay, now it’s in motion. Right? So one of those things is earlier, which requires more connections and more parties and more data. But that also gives you more options what to do. Because if there is a problem, well can the supplier just expedite the shipment or ship more or work? Can I reroute? And one of the things [inaudible] you talked about process mining, another thing that we find earlier in visibility, we call it no event or idle process detection, right? We’re using process mining for that, those earlier expectations of something should have happened but it didn’t, right? So a number of things that we’re finding from customers where things are late, the earliest indicator is vendor didn’t book in it, right? Early warnings to that or it’s stuck in a transship. So getting that earlier visibility is definitely [inaudible].
Scott Luton (22:06):
I love starting there and, Dino, I’ll get you to comment, but there’s a – and I’m going to get the name wrong. So the Vlasic company, it’s a big food and pickle company. I grew up eating lots and lots of pickles of Vlasic, lots and lots of Vlasic pickles. They had a legendary leader that his mantra was “give me good news fast, but give me bad news faster,” kind of to your point, Heidi, right? So we have Tom and it gives us options to figure things out. Dino, your quick comment there since, well, she was referencing some of what you said.
Constantine Limberakis (22:35):
Yeah. Those indicators are something that I having experienced as well with some of the technologies I worked with where, again, when you hear something going on, if there’s a bankruptcy as it’s evolving and you see that news or you see that information, you’re trying to cast information on that, or even if it’s something that’s weather related where you’re then saying, “Okay, how is that going to impact? Can I go to an alternative supplier now and then actually ask them for that product because I’m anticipating that this could be a huge problem, and what can I do with that stuff that may might be wasted if we’re not able to use it because of this disaster?” So, all these things that are these indicators, the more information you have and how you’re using it in differentiated ways, that could help you get a competitive advantage because you now are ahead of that supply chain issue as opposed to kind of reacting to it. So those are some of the great things that I think you’re able to do.
Scott Luton (23:30):
Perfect segue. Perfect segue with one of your last points there, predictive intelligence. Hey, hey, I don’t know about y’all, I can really appreciate a great segue, and after doing this in a few years, it can be challenging. So, let’s talk about predictive intelligence, Heidi.
Heidi Benko (23:45):
Yeah, I mean that’s the key. The goal is to get ahead of things, right? Predict what’ll happen so you can respond earlier. And I love the example you just mentioned too, of bringing the bad news sooner, even tell a customer it’s going to be delayed far in advanced versus it’s too late, or finding out yourself ’cause you did get more options. And predictive intelligence certainly is a key part of visibility because visibility starts with data and then being able to predict when things will happen or occur, right? So some of it’s historical information and, you know, things like, okay there would be a weather disruption or historical that, “Hey, you know, because of this your shipment is going to be late.” But then again, what the impact is. And then other insights, right, based on understanding those supply chain flows, and there’s lots of things that information. Is that supplier going to ship on time? So basically, getting those earlier warnings to react and part of that, it requires data and learning, right, and relearning and retraining. And we think about global supply chain, certainly if it’s you have a supply chain network that you can train machine learning on the data of the broader network that helps all the companies in the network, right, to get access to that information and predictions.
Scott Luton (24:52):
Man, so much goodness there just on this predictive intelligence point. Dino, your thoughts.
Constantine Limberakis (24:58):
I think those are all awesome points because we need to use that. The challenge too though is continuing to better use what you want to use to predict. And again, with the AI, this is where I was talking about a little bit before of – there’s all these different models out there, right? And I like to tell people AI, you know, is basically the algorithm, right? It’s the math at scale of all that information that you’re feeding it to train the algorithm to better understand. Is there a correlation? Is there a relationship? And the better you get at tuning that and having that good data that Heidi was talking about, the better you’re going to be able, “Hey, yeah, I can get ahead of that ’cause I know I can expect a positive correlation when that event happens and I know exactly what to do.” And that’s just something I think every company’s learning. But again, with the good technology and better technology, you’re going to be able to do it better faster, right? Steve Austin.
Scott Luton (25:46):
Heidi Benko (25:48):
Scott Luton (25:49):
Better, faster, stronger.
Heidi Benko (25:52):
Can we add, I mean just the – on the data, I mean, in order to do predictions, it has to be good data so also spending time on quality data and looking for cleansing the data, monitoring tools and looking for those anomalies and fixing them. So that way when you are applying machine learning for predictions, it’s based on the right data and good data, right?
Scott Luton (26:11):
Heidi Benko (26:11):
Predicting a shipment that’s not the right shipment because, you know, whether it’s vessel code or whatever, you’re just getting bad information. So a lot is about making sure the data’s good and putting the intelligence tools in for that as well.
Scott Luton (26:23):
Gotta get the good stuff. Good data that can lead to powerful actionable insights and decisions. Okay. And by the way, the Diesel is with us here today, Clay Phillips, ‘cause his engine is always running. “Great to see big crowd.” And, yeah, Heidi’s bringing it here today. Clay, great to have you. All right. So, Heidi, I think this is going to be out of all the things you’re talking about here today. I think this contextualization which we’re going to tackle next is so important especially from an operational standpoint and kind of how we view situations, opportunities, problems, you name it, so tell us more about contextualization.
Heidi Benko (27:00):
Yep. So, you know, what we were talking about before is bringing that information into context, right? What is the context of this event, this disruption, right? What’s the context of the impact, right? So when is it, where is it? And I’m just using port just ’cause just up. When will it occur? What shipments are going in? What orders? What is the magnitude? How late? All of that in one place. And then, the right contextualization and references, so the right people can make decisions, right? So if it’s looking at that shipment information, what orders, what customers, what product codes, what information, what’s the link to inventory, what can I bring in context to bring those decisions and insights? And the other thing that we didn’t talk about is just how do I see that, how do I visualize that, and how do I make that contextual information very intuitive so users can make decisions?
Heidi Benko (27:53):
And I think that’s another tool that’s key. And I’m not talking about just maps. Everybody’s like, “Oh, I can see a map,” right? But if you think about supply chains and that so much dynamic data, right, and going on in supply chains and bringing that data in context to what is the impact and what I need to do about it in a way that users can see that requires a number of data visualization tools. So we talk a lot about intelligence tools but really to have best in class visibility. How do you visualize the data and how do you give the users those insights to that context? So they go, “Oh, I immediately see the impact. I know what to do about that.”
Scott Luton (28:28):
You know, before I get you to comment, Dino, it’s so interesting. Us humans don’t make things like this easy, right? It’s amazing how two people can see the same image, the same show, the same, you name it, and two completely worlds apart, different interpretations. And then, so you think about that and how it plays out in global supply chain management as we’re – and add the pressure and the stress, man, we got to really help our teams get through and be successful. But, Constantine, when it comes to contextualization, your thoughts.
Constantine Limberakis (28:59):
Yeah, I think one of the other elements there is in the end, what are we trying to do with our supply chain? What are we acquiring these products or these raw materials or the core components? ‘Cause in the end you’re running a business and I would like to look at that context, right? What is our purpose of making this more efficient, better and stronger? It’s because we’re running a business that we’re trying to do. And so, this goes even to the sales and the forecasting of how that’s going to improve. So that goes all the way downstream and understanding that context to help you say what is the CEO? Why does he care about supply chain, or does she care about supply chain? Because of this thing being late. And what is that impact? So those are, again, all the elements here I think that we have to consider when we’re looking at that again to that point of the context.
Scott Luton (29:43):
Well said. And going back to what Heidi shared earlier in the first half of the show, having as few blind spots as possible. But, and it’s interesting when we call out, especially when we talk about context, just because someone is aware doesn’t mean they’re aware of things in the proper perspective and context.
Heidi Benko (30:01):
I think a critical point on the context and the blind spots ’cause I think, and back to visibility, I think some companies, okay, great, I get a delay. Update my ERP when things are late, right? But it’s you have to understand where it is in context and where – at what spot to know what to do about it, right, which is really key. So that’s why I think it’s really, when you look at visibility, it’s all those steps and whether it hasn’t left the origin port yet or it’s stuck at a supplier or it’s stuck in a wherever what’s going on your supply chain or you know what, I have no stock ’cause all these orders came in. You need to see all that information in context and that typically requires getting data from multiple systems, right? I can’t just see that in one place. So contextual is, how do I see that all? I can’t see it in one enterprise system, ERP planning. I see that in one place.
Scott Luton (30:50):
Heidi Benko (30:52):
Scott Luton (30:53):
Yes. Well, and that’s a great setup really for the next point because once you have all of the access, it will allow for a greater ability to truly manage the order, so to speak. So, Heidi, tell us a little more about that.
Heidi Benko (31:08):
Yep. Yeah, I mean I think one of the things for the many years – Infor Nexus has been around and I’ve been with them for Nexus – visibility is certainly something that’s very important that we want to provide our companies. And I think one of the reasons that we’ve been able to provide good visibility is because visibility comes out of the fact that we’re an executional platform that manages the order. By nature of managing it, sharing it with the parties that have to fulfill it, you have to transport it, you’re getting visibility and that’s kind of the starting point. And then, you also have the rich data of the order. So I think many times, “Hey, I’m gonna implement a visibility solution. I would like the order reference number.” That’s not enough. If you have that full order and the details, you understand what products are late, you understand earlier, like we talked about earlier, visibility at every step in the supply chain, you know what, it’s not going to get fulfilled in time. It’s not going to ship in time. It’s going to be short. Where are the delays? And you have that context. We talked about the order to really understand the impact to make the best decisions on what to do. Right?
Scott Luton (32:08):
It’s never enough. I love that phrase and I think that was a James Bond movie, The World is Not Enough. I think that was a James Bond movie, right? And it takes me back to what you have been, Heidi, touting for years, visibility is not enough. And that’s going to be a big theme, has been a big theme of industry, of our conversation here today. Dino, that greater ability to truly manage the order on top of the everything else we’ve talked about here today, your thoughts.
Constantine Limberakis (32:34):
Well, I think it kind of also comes down to the lifecycle of what’s going on. So when you’re talking about purchase orders or invoices or contracts or things that are part of the business process, that’s what – that Heidi’s intimating here, she’s like, there’s a life cycle here of this information that’s going through different processes and different systems and by able to having that harmonized in one place, it’s easier to access that data. Not all that data’s always going to be in one place. So you have to get that external data. But being able to understand that as it goes through the process, because that’s what’s going on, right? We know source to pay. We know the supply chain. We know the fulfillment. We know all these things have to happen, be properly orchestrated. And if you don’t have that proper information or it’s mislabeled or it’s not coming in accurately, then you’re creating other problems. So this is really important to have. Right?
Scott Luton (33:21):
Man, excellent point. And the last thing we need to do is mishandle problems that creates other problems, right? No one’s got time for that. All right. So, Heidi – and speaking of, have y’all seen The Greatest Showman? Y’all seen this, Heidi?
Heidi Benko (33:33):
Scott Luton (33:34):
Heidi Benko (33:34):
[Inaudible] but yes.
Scott Luton (33:36):
Heidi Benko (33:36):
I heard the soundtrack more in my house for my kids.
Scott Luton (33:38):
So, you know where I’m going. There’s that song that still rings in my ears, Never Enough. That needs to be a theme for supply chain conversations. I don’t know if you remember that one. It was such a great movie. If you, folks, y’all haven’t seen The Greatest Showman and hadn’t heard the soundtrack, check it out. Okay. So let’s talk about – talking about action. What’s the path to achieve these critical items or more, Heidi? And one of my favorite questions is, how do folks get started? How can we make it easy for them, Heidi?
Heidi Benko (34:08):
Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of what we said first is it’s really understanding what’s going on in your supply chain and what’s being impacted. You have to have connected your network, right? And when it’s connecting your enterprise systems on your expectations, right? What are my orders and my plans and connecting with those, all those parties, with the suppliers, the forwarders to both share information and get that visibility back. That’s the foundation that really connects your supply chain. So that way you get to see connecting, sharing the orders, tracking the shipments. So, when there is a problem, you see the impact. Also, it’s going to identify problems and disruptions and impacts. So that’s the foundation is key. Now how to get started? ‘Cause some, oh, my supply chain, large company global supply chain, whoo. We just talked about data contextualization and orders and there’s all this data, had do it all at once, right, you know, and I think how it varies a little bit by company size and needs. Start by connecting then what do you want visibility to in sharing, right? Is it I want to first track my shipments and then I’ll go add on the order? Or is it, you know what, I’ve got a lot going on in my suppliers? They need to make sure they’re shipping on time. Connect and share the order, confirm the order, manage the order there. But first is connecting.
Scott Luton (35:22):
Yeah. Quick follow-up to that, would you also say, Heidi, that first you’ve got to acknowledge that you’ve got a blind spot and acknowledge that you’ve got a challenge and really keep things real? Heidi, any thoughts there? ‘Cause a lot of times I think we’ll fool ourselves.
Heidi Benko (35:36):
Scott Luton (35:37):
Heidi Benko (35:37):
Right. No, that’s a great point. And I think people, I mean companies, and we talk to companies all the time, they’re still connecting, getting the data via spreadsheets. They’re pulling it from different places, right? So yeah, I’m getting my updates, but how quickly am I getting them? How good is the information that I’m getting? So they might not know they have a problem. I feel like the last few years though, because of the chaos, companies realize they had a problem, but, you know, they don’t fully understand, like we talked about the blind spots. How much do I need to light up and connect to, right? So yes, there is a problem. And you’re right. And everybody recognizes that they have one or the degree, even though I think the past couple years has made some folks realize it.
Scott Luton (36:21):
That’s right. And that’s been part of the silver lining, the great awakening in many ways. One other thing you since you mentioned spreadsheets, Dino, I’m going to get your comment here just a second. I’ve seen a meme somewhere. Y’all know Greek mythology. You’ve got Atlas. I think it’s Atlas with the world on his back. Well, I’ve seen a meme somewhere where it was the world of supply chain on the back of Excel spreadsheet because it still runs so much of industry. Constantine, weigh in on what we talked about there, finding – you know, the first step, finding a better path, your thoughts.
Constantine Limberakis (36:53):
Yeah, well, you know, Atlas was punished for curing the world because he fought against the 12 gods, right? So that’s a punishment. So, we don’t want supply chain to be a punishment. We want it to be a positive thing. So, with that being said, I think what you intimated, Scott, is, COVID, as we all know and all this stuff in the past, was a great equalizer of revealing your problems. And people have to recognize where those blind spots are. And I think this was just everybody realized that nothing is perfect and we have to fix things. And so, how do you get started, to your original question? I think you got to continue banging the drum on that transformation and you’re not going to be able to do everything and you haven’t been able to do everything all at once. Where are the most critical steps to continue transforming? And, you know, this process is not something that can happen overnight.
Constantine Limberakis (37:38):
But once you get it right and orchestrate that in a way, I think that’s the way you then find out the next problem that you got to fix. It’s kind of like your house, right? You’re not going to fix everything. You got to fix. You got to realize. Do I get the floors done first? Do I paint the house? Do I do the roof? And that all has to be orchestrated ’cause in the end it’s a big house or a house that have everything right. But what do you need to do first in order for it to look good or have the most value? And it’s the same concept.
Scott Luton (38:04):
I’m with you, prioritization. And I’ve heard a phrase somewhere, Heidi and Dino, that you don’t own the house, the house owns you. I think it’s how I feel sometimes. All right.
Heidi Benko (38:14):
I’m there right now. So, I [inaudible], “What? Now?”
Scott Luton (38:17):
Oh, gosh. It’s an ongoing saga, I tell you. All right. So switching gears, Heidi and the Infor Nexus team have brought some resources for our audience. I want to pick up this first one here, ’cause y’all got some great news. The hits keep coming, right? Let’s see here. Infor was named a leader in the 2023, bear with me, Nucleus Control Tower Technology Value Matrix. And, folks, you can check out that research paper via the link. We’re going to drop in the chat. So two-part question, Heidi. First off, how cool is that adding one more accolade, and why should folks check out that research piece?
Heidi Benko (38:53):
Yeah, I mean definitely when we talk about chaos to control and visibility, really the way to run a better supply chain is to implement a supply chain control tower. And why it’s seeing and acting and the actual insights, that’s what control towers do. So, learn a lot more there and the capabilities required for that and capable, there’s control towers like ours offer as well. And so, that we can help run a better supply chain.
Scott Luton (39:19):
And that’s big part of the name of the game right there. So, folks, we’ll drop the link to that in the chat. You’re one click away. As Jessica says, “Whoo hoo!” I think she’s celebrating with you, Heidi. I love that. Jessica, great to have you here today. Well, first off, Constantine, I think you were diving into that piece earlier.
Constantine Limberakis (39:36):
Scott Luton (39:37):
Is that right?
Constantine Limberakis (39:37):
Yeah, absolutely. It’s great to be able to read and say what the leaders are doing to be able to help put this out there ’cause control towers are something that’ve been talked about for a few years to be able to rationalize that and put that in a context to say, what can these providers do? And I think what you guys are doing is fantastic at Infor, how this is improving with all these different technologies that have to come in to have a proper control tower, to get that visibility that we’re talking about, that predictability. All that stuff has to be there. And this is great to be able to have a resource to do that.
Scott Luton (40:07):
That’s right. It can make for a better ecosystem for sure. All right. And then secondly, as, again, one of our big thrusts and primary missions is to give folks resources, give folks power information ’cause that is power. So, folks, you’ll learn more about Infor Nexus, you can check out this second link. We’re going to publish to the chat and we’ll put it in the show notes and y’all can check that as well. Tyrone says, “This nourishment here. Bring it on.” Check out the pieces. And, Tyrone, always a pleasure. And as someone pointed out earlier, usually Tyrone joins us via YouTube. He said he saw LinkedIn pop up and he jumped in. He smoked it while he’s got them, jumped on LinkedIn while he saw it there. So, great to have you there. And we’ve got that link there. You can learn more about Infor Nexus. We make it really easy. One click away.
Scott Luton (40:52):
Heidi, always a pleasure, really enjoyed your practical perspective here today, clearly been there, done it, helping a ton of organizations, and most importantly, at least to me, the people behind the organizations, right, because despite this technology, digital world we live in, it’s the people that are continuing to push industry forward and change it for the better. And we’ve got to take care of them, right? Make their days easier. So if folks want to lean in to some of the things you shared here, they want to grab a cup of coffee with you, learn more, how can folks connect with you, Heidi?
Heidi Benko (41:22):
Yeah, definitely. I mean, you certainly reached out to me on LinkedIn, right? So my LinkedIn profile, Heidi Benko. You can also reach me by email at work. It’s my full name, heidi.benko@infor, I-N-F-O-R, .com. I’m in New York City if you wanted to grab lunch or coffee.
Scott Luton (41:41):
Man. Okay. Just so, I got to ask you, Heidi, before I get Constantine’s one big thing, what is one of your go-tos, like a non-chain go-to restaurant? If folks are venturing into New York City for the day, what’s one of your go-tos?
Heidi Benko (41:55):
You know, I don’t – for lunch, that’s [inaudible] I would say –
Scott Luton (41:58):
You name it, coffee, lunch.
Heidi Benko (42:00):
Lunch – well, coffee, so it depends on neighborhood. New York’s got tons of great coffee. So right in our office, we got Gotham Coffee Roasters, which is wonderful; East Village; [Inaudible]. I can name tons of coffees, probably easier to chat. And then, it depends on food that you like. There’s an amazing Thai restaurant a block away from me, on Bond Street. Fish cheeks, that’s a good one.
Scott Luton (42:23):
Okay. I’ll see you in about an hour, Heidi. You had me at Thai. All right. So before we wrap up the conversation here today, Constantine, we’ve covered a lot of ground, again, very practical, Infor Nexus clearly on the move, helping a lot of folks. What is one thing though that folks forget everything else, all the other brilliance that Heidi dropped here on us today, what’s one thing that you would challenge people to keep in mind?
Constantine Limberakis (42:46):
I think what it was is that we can’t do everything in one fell swoop, but we need to understand the bigger context of things that are going on. I like the conversation, particularly around the contextualization. I think that’s just so important in understanding that because data and technology all have to come together and understand, well what can I do with this to take some action? And I think just one of the most important things we got to remember is how are you using these processes and this information.
Scott Luton (43:14):
Yes. It’s not good enough just to take it all in and sit on it. How are you putting in an action? That’s a great call out, Dino. All right. So as we wrap here today, we’re ahead of schedule. And, Heidi, Constantine, y’all are on it today. Let’s see here. We encourage y’all. You can connect with Heidi. We’ve got the link there as you as she invited y’all to do. Check that out. Jessica invites, “Hey, come by the Infor offices, always good snacks and coffee all the way around.” Love that, Jessica. And I think this is Hassan, I think. “Thank you, everyone. I found this discussion to be highly insightful.” Hey, thanks for being a part of it. Great to have you here. All right. So, folks, check out, make sure you connect with Heidi, connect with all the cool things that Infor is up to. Check out those two pieces we dropped and – but whatever you do – and, of course, big thanks to Heidi Benko with Infor Nexus for being here. Heidi, looking forward to the next conversation.
Heidi Benko (44:02):
Same. Thanks for having.
Scott Luton (44:04):
You bet. Always a pleasure. And, Constantine, thanks for being here as always. Looking forward to the next one of these we’ve got.
Constantine Limberakis (44:13):
Absolutely. Oh, I’d love the conversation.
Scott Luton (44:14):
I do too. I do too. All right. So, again, big thanks to Catherine, Bianca, Amanda, you name it, all the folks behind the scenes help making to show happen. Folks, whatever you do, you got to take something. Take a piece of the brilliance that Heidi dropped here today. Put it into action. That’s the name of the game. Deeds not words. And with that, on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain now, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward and to be the change. And we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks, everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now Community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now, anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Heidi Benko is the VP of Product at Infor Nexus, responsible for the Visibility and Orchestration solutions. Heidi has over twenty years of experience in supply chain product management, solutions strategy and marketing, delivering innovative supply chain solutions to companies across industries that help them transform their supply chain operations. Connect with Heidi on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.